My Visit to LACMA: “In Wonderland: Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists”

Sunday, May 6, 2012

My two cousins invited my Mom and I to see “In Wonderland: Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Today is the last day to see the exhibition.  After today, the exhibit will travel to the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City and the National Museum of Fine Arts in Québec, Canada.

LACMA curator Ilene Susan Fort collaborated with Tere Arcq, curator from Mexico City’s Museum of Modern Art, to organize “In Wonderland…”. The artworks displayed in the exhibit are diverse and come from private collections and permanent collections from various museums here in the United States, Mexico and Europe.

At the heart of the exhibition, are the female surrealist artists’ artistic expression on identity and sexuality.  Some of the paintings in the exhibition critique their male counterparts in the surrealist circle on the subject of female identity and sexuality.  “In Wonderland…” focuses on female surrealist artists on both sides of the border in North America who were not fairly represented in the surrealist and overall artistic circles from the 1920s to 1960s: American women, Mexican women, and women who migrated from various parts of Europe and settled in the United States or Mexico.  I found it amazing to see each woman’s culture infused in her work, her perspective and the similarities of their experiences irregardless of their culture and physical location.  The experiences shared by all these women were challenges a woman confronts in a patriarchal society, her dreams and ambitions, her creativity, her thoughts and feelings towards her love ones, losses and/or traumatic experiences in her life, her identity as a daughter, wife, mother and above all a woman – whether American, Mexican, European, etc.  The concept of the title, “In Wonderland…,” is taken from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” which I think is perfect for this exhibition.  The key themes are identity, control of one’s own life and decisions, dreams and the subconscious.  Also, as the exhibit noted when you first begin touring, the idea of being in (or falling in) a rabbit’s hole trying to get out is expressed in various ways among the female surrealists.

It was a great pleasure to see in person paintings by Frida Kahlo and to be introduced to artists such as Dorothea Tanning and Remedios Varo.  There were a lot of people viewing “In Wonderland…” today and a lot of them were women.  As a woman, the themes that were expressed in these paintings I can relate too and with all due respect, more so than the male surrealist artists. Overall the exhibition had a beautiful, hauntingly, soft feeling through out.

I took pictures while I was there and I took a lot.  Below are some photos I took as well as information on some of the paintings.  I love all of the art works I saw, but below are some of my favorites.

*In regards to copyright, each image shows the appropriate credit line.*

Additional Reading:

Art Review: ‘In Wonderland: Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists’ at LACMA (Christopher Knight, Culture Monster, Los Angeles Times, January 30, 2012)

In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

LACMA Evenings for Educators: Surrealism and Women Artists

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